G20 Summit in short

G20 leaders met in Buenos Aires on the 30th of November and 1st of December to discuss issues such as trade wars and climate change. The results were somewhat positive, but change is needed to prevent conflicts.

USA-China trade truce: On Saturday night, the two leaders, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump sought to resolve the trade disputes with the threat of all-out trade war hanging over their heads like the Sword of Damocles. In spite of the previous disputes, the two countries could reach agreements which could better their relationship. One of the biggest achievements is the US delaying the threatened imposition of 25% tariff on nearly all Chinese imports. Trump said about the dinner meeting with Xi that "it was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China". China also agreed to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance. This could better the condition of US economy with a special attention to the agricultural industry, the most affected sector of the trade war in US.

"The two presidents agreed that the two sides can and must get bilateral relations right," Wang Yi, China's lead diplomat said. Although solving trade issues was constructive, if the two countries fail to improve their relations the US may continue with posing the 25% tariff.

The turmoil of multilateralism: crisis of the WTO (and of the rules-based international order) Trump, Xi, Putin, Erdogan and the Saudi crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, posed a question about the survival of multilateralism. France's president Emmanuel Macron also said that "multilateralism is going through a real crisis". It is not a surprise that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is on the verge of becoming dysfunctional; a reform is needed to bring global trade negotiations back to the WTO.

World leaders have signed off on an agreement which reaffirms a basic commitment by the world's biggest economies to multilateral trade and a "rules-based international order", but bows to US demands for urgent reform of the WTO.

Climate change 19 of the G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement, with the US holding out to their withdrawal under President Trump. A senior White House official also called the pact as the "job-killing Paris agreement". Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey appeared sympathetic to the US position, but eventually stayed with the other countries.

Conclusion Today we are facing lots of conflicts and quarrels between nations and in order to be able to resolve it, we have to appeal to a rules-based international order. However, this is much harder in practice: with a lot of strong leaders with different interests, these rules have to be constantly changing; this requires expertise, experience and healthy connections in the lawmaking. Changing the rules is not only about fairness, but national interests should also be considered to avoid the feeling of negligence which could trigger anti-multilateralist behavior. Since that could decrease the possibility of successful negotiations between nations this result has to be prevented with every effort.

Mátyás Szűts

(Sources: European Council, The Guardian, G20 Argentina 2018, Deutsche Welle)